Lubbock Dram Shop LawyersLast updated on: August 1, 2022
Call our skilled Lubbock dram shop lawyers at (800) 863-5312
According to the CDC, 5.1% of American adults engage in heavy drinking, which is defined as seven drinks a week for women and fourteen drinks a week for men. A portion of the American drinking population—one out of every 121 licensed drivers—is arrested each year for drinking and driving. When someone’s drinking and driving leads to a car crash, Lubbock dram shop lawyers can step in and help victims through the legal process.
If you or a loved one was the victim of a drunk driver who was overserved at a bar, let us see if we can help. Our experienced attorneys at Zinda Law Group can give you a free consultation to let you know their professional opinions about your case. Call (800) 863-5312 to start your path to resolution.
How a Lubbock drunk driving accident attorney can help you
A car accident can turn your life upside down. You might have had your work and social schedule disrupted by your injuries from the crash. You might be unable to perform daily tasks that you once did without a second thought. If these things are true for you, you should consider hiring an attorney.
People who represent themselves rather than have a lawyer represent them tend to have worse outcomes, no matter the type of case. Even lawyers seek out legal counsel to help them with their disputes rather than represent themselves. Having an attorney advocate for you shows the defendant’s attorney, the judge overseeing your case, and the jury (if you go to trial) that you have the support and determination to seek the compensation you deserve.
If you are unsure whether an attorney could add value to your litigation process or you do not think your case is worth pursuing, try speaking with a lawyer through a free consultation. There, a Lubbock drunk driving accident lawyer can let you know your estimated chances of success against the negligent party or parties. Even if you learn that your chances are slim and that you should probably not sue, you will have saved yourself time and effort by talking with an attorney.
A Lawyer Has Experience with Lubbock’s Dram Shop Laws
You might lack experience with the legal system in general and with Texas’s laws in particular. You might begin your legal inquiry with such questions as, “Can I sue a bar?” A lawyer can help you by answering these preliminary questions and by answering questions you may not have thought to ask. For example, you might not know that you must file your claim within two years from the day of the accident according to Texas’s statute of limitations, lest you lose your opportunity to sue.
To answer that earlier question, yes, you can sue a bar along with the driver who was overserved at the bar. Your lawyer can help you navigate the various strategies available in your case regarding whom to sue and which legal causes of action to file in your complaint.
The basis of your claim will likely be negligence, and there are other causes of action that your attorney may find it wise to include. If your drunk driving claim includes a cause of action for negligence, you must prove the following:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- The defendant breached the standard of that duty of care.
- You received an injury for which you can be legally compensated.
- The defendant’s breach caused your injury.
A Lawyer Knows What to Look for in Discovery
Once your claim is filed, you will receive an answer from the defendant, possibly including counterclaims and affirmative defenses. To know how to support your claim and quell those counterclaims and defenses, you will go through the stage of litigation called discovery. During discovery, your attorney and the defendant’s attorney gather and exchange information to piece together how the accident happened, who was at fault, and how serious your injury is. This process can take from a few weeks to over a year, depending on the complexity of your case.
The type of evidence that each side gathers can come in the form of depositions and interrogatories of the plaintiff and defendant (during which each side’s attorneys ask spoken or written questions of the plaintiff and defendant). It also comes in the form of interviews with witnesses who saw the accident or expert witnesses who did not see the accident but can testify about some element pertaining to it. Your attorney can help you decide whether a witness’ testimony will be helpful to you and whether you should hire an expert witness.
Finally, you must provide the defendant with information about your injury. Tell the defendant about how you were injured and each expense you incurred. For all of the information you give, also send over proof of your statements in the form of receipts or invoices. You must do this to show that your calculation of your economic damages is accurate.
Read more: Why Is an Expert Witness Needed for My Case?
A Lubbock Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Can Negotiate Your Settlement
When both sides have had ample opportunity to seek the information they need, they begin discussing a settlement amount. If you do not have a lawyer, you could be intimidated by all the parties involved advocating on behalf of the defendant. The defendant could have representatives from insurance companies along with attorneys trying to reduce the defendant’s liability for your injuries. The number of representatives could more than double if you sue both the driver and the bar.
If you have your own attorney for this process, you can be more prepared and more confident. The lawyers on the other side might argue that you partially caused the accident and that you should accept less compensation as a result. Your attorney can reduce the amount of harm to your case and try to preserve the amount the defendant owes you by anticipating the kinds of arguments the defendant makes. Experienced attorneys know how much a client should accept in a settlement based on the amount similar cases have earned in the past.
If you are not satisfied with the settlement offers you receive and your lawyer advises you to go to trial, you might seek a judgment rather than a settlement. Trials can be unpredictable since your fate lies in the hands of a jury, leaving you less control than you had in negotiation. The resulting award might be even less or significantly more than the settlement offer you refused.
Read more: Dram Shop Lawyer
Five things to do after a drunk driving accident in Lubbock
As we have discussed, lawyers can help streamline certain processes because of the knowledge they possess. However, there are some steps you should take before you contact a Lubbock drunk driving accident lawyer so that you are able to adequately describe your case to him or her. If you want to “dot your i’s and cross your t’s” before contacting an attorney, you should be able to cross off the items on this list. If you have not been in a drunk driving accident but you want to know what to do if you ever find yourself in one, this guide can prepare you for that.
1. Call 911
First, call the Lubbock police to form a crash report about the accident. You might have limited time and opportunity to preserve the evidence that the other driver was intoxicated when the crash occurred. Because of this, mention on the call that you believe the other driver is intoxicated and might require a breathalyzer test. When the reporting officer arrives, he or she should note the other driver’s blood alcohol content and include it in the crash report.
The officer will also include a description of the accident as he or she understands it. This usually includes a statement about who the officer believes caused the accident. As you may imagine, this can be an incredibly helpful piece of evidence. The officer will also note the other driver’s name, contact and insurance information, and driving record. You can find the report and request it online after a few days.
You may notice some resistance from the drunk driver when you attempt to call 911. The driver might be aware that he or she is intoxicated and try to prevent the black mark on their driving record by insisting that you can work things out without a police officer. If you think the driver might drive away from you before you can call the police, write down or take a picture of his or her license plate number and car model.
2. Get the Other Driver’s Information
Second, get the contact information from the other driver. If that driver will not cooperate with you because he or she suspects you will sue, locate the driver’s information in the police officer’s traffic report. Look for the other driver’s name, phone number, address, and insurance information.
3. Gather Evidence
Third, get the necessary remaining evidence from the accident scene. While it is most important that you document the other driver’s drunkenness, other details about the crash can help piece together the broader picture of how it happened. Collect the contact information from any witnesses who saw what happened. Take pictures of the location of the accident, the damage to the vehicles, and anything unusual about the scene like construction or inclement weather conditions.
4. Schedule a Doctor’s Appointment
Fourth, visit your doctor as soon as you can following the accident. If you do not visit the doctor, you may not have reliable evidence that you were injured in the crash. As you visit, note the name of your care provider, the diagnoses and treatment you receive, and the cost of everything. Of course, seeing a doctor should be the first thing you do if you need emergency medical care for your injuries.
5. Schedule a Consultation with a Lubbock Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Last, once you have completed the steps above, you have the information you need to discuss your case with an attorney. A Lubbock drunk driving accident attorney can give you a free consultation. After the consultation, the lawyer can help you decide whether to file your claim against the drunk driver and the bar.
What are Lubbock dram shop laws?
General Dram Shop Laws
Dram shop laws hold alcohol providers accountable when they provide alcohol to customers who were already clearly drunk and capable of causing harm to themselves and others. An alcohol provider is someone who has a license or permit to sell or serve alcohol, typically a bar.
Under a first-person dram shop law, the provider is liable to the customer when the customer’s intoxication causes damage such as a fight or car accident. Under a third-person dram shop law, the provider is liable to a third party who was harmed by the person the provider overserved.
Sometimes dram shop laws apply to minors rather than individuals who were already intoxicated. Sometimes the laws apply to individuals who did not sell alcohol but instead hosted the drunk person as a guest and overserved him or her. The policy behind dram shop laws is to take a community approach to prevent drunk driving or fighting.
Lubbock Dram Shop Laws
In Lubbock, both the drunk driver and the person who was harmed by him or her can sue the bar that overserved the driver. Adults who provide minors with alcohol can also be held liable in Texas, though social hosts (non-bars) typically cannot. To learn more about the Texas dram shop law and how your case fits within its boundaries, talk with a Zinda Law Group lawyer.
Read more: Can a Bar Be Held Responsible for an Injury by a Drunk Driver?
bar liability for alcohol injuries
According to Texas law, a bar has liability for drunk driving when it continues to serve an obviously intoxicated person who presents a clear danger to others and when that person’s intoxication is the cause of someone else’s injuries. The bar’s liability for the driver does not preclude the driver’s liability to you if you are also suing him or her. The bar and driver could each owe you legal remedies in the form of damages: economic damages, non-economic damages, and possibly punitive damages.
Economic damages reimburse you for the monetary expenses associated with your injury, such as medical bills, damage to your vehicle, and missed wages from time off work. Non-economic damages compensate you for the pain and suffering you endured from the injury, such as loss of normal life or emotional distress. A court might find punitive damages appropriate in extreme cases if a judge thinks the bar or driver should be punished and discouraged from committing the negligent act again in the future.
Speak with our Lubbock dram shop lawyers at Zinda law group
We can help you every step of litigation, from before you file your claim to the moment you settle or conclude your trial. If you become a Zinda Law Group client, we provide our No Win, No Fee Guarantee to promise you that you will not pay us unless we win your case. Let us help you move on from the tragedy of your accident.
If you or a loved one received injuries from a negligent drunk driver and negligent bar, you might be able to pursue maximum compensation against both parties. A Lubbock drunk driving accident attorney can advise you on the strategies available to you based on your unique case. Start by calling us at (800) 863-5312 for your free consultation with an attorney at Zinda Law Group.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.